Peaches are reminiscent of summer, no matter what time of the year you enjoy them. Their fuzzy skin and juicy, sweet flesh are a perfect snack on their own, their sweet smell signalling when they are at their perfect freshness. Peaches can also make the best pie, be tossed in a salad for a sweet addition, or be grilled on the Barbecue – not only a perfect addition to a salad but also amazing with ice cream!
How To Pick Peaches:
There are two classifications of peaches: Freestone is the stone (or pit) that will easily fall from the fruit and are most often the ones you’ll find at your grocery store or farmer’s market. The clingstone fruit does pretty much as it sounds – the flesh sticks to the stone and is mainly used for commercial purposes.
To get intensely flavoured ripe fruit, make sure the fruit gives slightly to palm pressure and has a sweet peach nectar aroma. Avoid fruits that have green colouring. Peaches range in colour and can be anywhere from a light pink and cream to a reddish-yellow. Because these guys bruise easily, make sure to look them over thoroughly for any soft spots.
How To Store Peaches:
To ripen under-ripe peaches, just place them in a paper bag, pop a few holes in the bag, and leave them on your kitchen counter (at room temperature) for a few days. If you really want to speed up the process, add an apple to the bag.
If your peaches are ripe, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and they will last for up to five days. To get the best taste, let them warm up to room temperature before eating.
How To Pit a Peach:
Wash peaches just before you are ready to use them. Cut the peach lengthwise around the stone (follow the natural indent on the peach) and gently twist both halves in opposite directions to separate them (as if you are opening a jar that’s a little stuck). If the peach is a freestone, the stone will pop out easily.
How To Peel a Peach:
Peeling stone fruits is a breeze. With a small knife, mark an “x” on the bottom of the peach, then drop them briefly in boiling water for 30 seconds and transfer them to an ice bath (to stop the cooking process). Their skins should slip off easily. After peeling, immediately return them to the ice bath, which prevents discoloration.
Kary’s Peach Tips:
- If you’re peeling peaches, you can loosen the skin by also heating in the microwave on high for about 15-20 seconds. Let stand a few minutes once done. Or, if you’re only peeling a few, mark an “x” on the bottom of each one and cover them with boiling water for 30 seconds.
- To remove the pit, cut the peach from end to end and give it a twist.
- Peaches will discolour quickly after being cut, so if you aren’t combining them with something acidic, such as lemon juice or salad dressing, quickly dip the fruit in acidulated water (water with a little lemon juice) and drain well.
- Sniff a peach to check for ripeness. If they are ripe, they’ll smell like sweet peach nectar.
- Try cooking chopped peaches in a little brown sugar and butter. Try adding them to your pancake batter!
- If your peaches are ripe, store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and they will last for up to five days. To get the best taste, let them warm up to room temperature before eating.
What do Peaches Go Well With?
Peaches go well with: allspice, almonds, apricots, arugula, berries, bourbon, brandy, butter, cinnamon, cloves, cream, ice cream, ginger, honey, lemon, mint, nutmeg, pistachios, sugar, vanilla, vinegar, wine, yogurt.
“An apple is an excellent thing — until you have tried a peach.” — Georges du Maurier